Car Defects: A Result of a Car Manufacturer’s Negligence

Posted by on Dec 12, 2016 in Product Liability | 0 comments

It is the task of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to save lives by passing and enforcing laws that will reduce road accidents and prevent anyone from getting injured in a car accident. This task is partly accomplished by the NHTSA by making sure designers and makers of cars comply with federal standards (particularly those mandated under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Systems or FMVSS) on vehicle safety and excellence. This is the federal government’s way of making sure that all manufactured car passenger vehicles, prior to leaving the manufacturing plant, are designed safely and do not contain defective parts that will put lives at risk.

Despite federal standards and the NHTSA’s implementation of laws, however, cars with defects (either in design or part) continue to be sold, making their presence on the road possible threat to road safety and turning what may be a non-injurious or non-fatal car crash into an injurious or fatal accident. The consequences of these defects are vehicle recalls, made either by the manufacturers themselves or by the NHTSA through a court order.

Over the past years, some of the various causes of recalls and the affected number of vehicles include:

  • Suspension bolt coming loose and disabling the steering column, which affected 5.8 million General Motors cars in 1981;
  • Fuel lines that cracked and spilled gasoline onto the engine, setting the vehicle on fire, which affected 11,500 Ford Escapes from Ford Motor Company;
  • Blowing tires from Firestone, which had tire treads that separated from the steel belts. About 6.5 million of these faulty tires got recalled, but after it was linked to 200 deaths;
  • Car ignition that started up by itself, which affected 7.9 million Ford vehicles manufactured between 1988 and 1993;
  • Unintended acceleration, which resulted to cars speeding up on their own. This affected the Audi 5000 in the 1980s and about 9 million 2010 Toyota car models; and,
  • Cruise Control Switches, which affected about 14.9 million Ford cars and trucks manufactured between 1991 and 2004.

Based on 2013 NHTSA records, more than 10 car manufacturers recalled as many as 22 million vehicles due to defective parts, like seat belts, tires, steering wheel, child seats, brake pads, wipers, and air bags that just deploy despite the vehicle not crashing. In 2004, though, vehicle recall hit a high of 30.8 million. Defects make car accidents one of the leading causes of serious injury and wrongful death in the United States each year, and the sad truth is, if not because of these, then far too many accidents could easily be prevented.

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